Ottawa Symphony Orchestra

Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy

John Gomez


Vancouver-born John Gomez received his musical education at the University of British Columbia where he studied with Esther Glazer, and at the Meadowmount School of Music, where he studied with Ivan Galamian and Paul Makanowitzky. Before joining the National Arts Centre Orchestra as a charter member in 1969, he was Principal Second Violin of the Vancouver Symphony, and Concertmaster of the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra and the Stratford Festival Orchestra. Since his arrival in Ottawa, Mr. Gomez has made a significant contribution to the cultural activities of the city.

In 1984 he resigned from the NACO to devote more time to his duties at the University of Ottawa, the Ottawa Youth Orchestra (as Conductor) and the Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy (as Music Director), which he founded in 1982. He was appointed Concertmaster of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra in 1984 and of the Opera Lyra Orchestra in 1985. From 1982 to 1999, Mr. Gomez directed an in-city youth summer music camp in Ottawa and from 1985 to 1994 he taught and performed in Quebec’s beautiful Charlevoix region at the Domaine Forget Academy of Music and Dance. During the summers of 1996 to 1999, he taught and performed for CAMMAC at Lac MacDonald, Quebec. In 2001, he taught, performed and conducted at the University of Limerick in the Republic of Ireland at Summer Music on the Shannon.

In the 1990s Mr. Gomez was much in demand as an adjudicator with notable assignments being the Toronto, Kingston and Edmonton Music Festivals, and the Alberta provincial finals music festival in 1992 and 1996. In 1994, he became chair of the Ontario Federation of Symphony Orchestra’s Youth Orchestra Committee, which sponsored a bi-annual Ontario Youth Orchestras Festival. Also in 1994, he was given the Charlotte Whitton Award for his contribution to the Arts in the Capital Ward of the City of Ottawa. In January 1997, he was recognized as having the equivalent of a Doctor of Music degree and granted tenure by the University of Ottawa.

In December 2003, Mr. Gomez retired from the University of Ottawa and the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra to devote more time to the Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy and other ventures involving pre-university students. Over the last 12 years Mr. Gomez has taken the Ottawa Youth Orchestra on four European tours to Wales/Ireland, Hungary, Italy and the Netherlands/Belgium. In 2016, Orchestras Canada awarded him the Betty Webster Award for his contributions to Canadian orchestras through the training and showcasing of three generations of orchestral musicians. In the spring of 2017, he was awarded The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.

After 35 years at its helm, John ​Gomez retired as conductor of the OYO in May 2017. He will remain as OYOA music director.

Last modified: June 2017